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Second Skin [Import]
Excellent acting elevates Second Skin to earnest heights of heartfelt melodrama in contemporary Madrid. It's a Spanish soap opera in the most intelligent sense, inviting comparison to the intimate passion plays of Pedro Almódovar and Eric Rohmer. Director Gerardo Vera's approach is more conventional, despite the fact that this modest tale of marital discord involves an unhappy wife, Elena (Ariadna Gil), whose suspicions are only slightly mistaken. Instead of another woman, her husband Alberto (Jordi Mollà) is having an affair with Diego (Javier Bardem, from Before Night Falls). He's tormented by his genuine love for his wife, child, and gay lover, and his inability to choose between them. Unfortunately, the screenplay decides for him, resorting to a last-minute twist of fate to resolve the dilemma that Alberto couldn't solve on his own. It's a cop-out solution, more suited to bad cable TV, weakening an otherwise honest and emotionally involving film. Recommended, with minor reservations. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, this movie is a real treat, up until the last 10 minutes or so. Bardem plays a gay man again (albeit, *quite* different than his superb playing of Reinaldo Arenas in "Before Night Falls"), this time falling for married man Jordi Molla.
As good as I expected Bardem to be, Molla is even better. He's a confused soul. He's got anguish all over his face and in every little nuanced action (the self-conscious, repetitious patting down of his hair is but one perfect touch).
Bardem and Molla go further here in the portrayal of the physical aspects of their relationship than you could ever expect two equivalent American stars to go. These are two of Spain's leading actors. As a good exercise, try to picture Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in these scenes. Wouldn't happen.
The ending is a copout though. Very disappointing. There had to be a better way to end it than the cheap exit taken by the filmmakers. Still though, it can't spoil two fearless performances by Bardem and Molla.
Javier Bardem is inimitable as a sensitively wrought gay surgeon in love with a bisexual man (again, in a brilliant performance by Jordi Molla) who is married to a wise if fragile woman (sensitively acted by Ariadna Gil). Bardem's best friend is a fellow surgeon (the wondrous Cecilia Roth) who helps him through the highs and lows of his love affair with a man who is conflicted to the extreme. To tell more of the story would be to deprive the viewer of the impact. Suffice it to say that with the consistently excellent performances by this stunning quartet under the ever sensitive eye of Vera, this is a film to see again and again. Why is it that American actors have so much difficulty playing gay men? These two Spanish actors, coming from a society that is machismo, still make their lovers wholly believable and sensusal.
The acting, by all three of the actors, is superb; however, to me, the characters were not developed enough to make them believable or, at least, interesting. I just could not buy Javier as Diego being so wimpy that he allowed Jordi Molla, as Alberto to "use" him as he did--Give me a break, Diego, as played by Javier, is a gorgeous hunk of a man PLUS a successful medical doctor, for god's sake!! I know that love can make you be a complete idiot, but Javier's character was impossible for me to comprehend. We, the audience, needed to be given some clue as to why Diego acted so irrationally having no backbone, of any sort, when it came to Alberto (was it low self-esteem, was he abused as a child or was he just stupid?) No hint is given as to why he played a "door-mat" for Alberto allowing him to treat him very badly--Alberto disappears for weeks at a time without Diego being able to contact him; when they finally go away together for one of Diego's Medical Conventions all Alberto does is try to prove that he really, really isn't gay by flirting with Diego's good female friend then getting mad and spending the night away from the hotel where they are staying and acting all [mad], the next day, when Diego tries to find out "what is the matter" and to offer some comfort.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This movie came across to me much like a telenovela(soap opera), full of drippy melodrama and a musical score that was way over the top. Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2003 by Enrique Torres
this is a difficult topic -most directors will not like to deal with the "gay" topic especially when it is so physical in nature on screen. Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2003 by Libri Mundi
ok, by now you guys already know what the film is all about so i won't get into it. let's just go ahead and talk about it.
the acting? good. the actors? Read more
I could not stop watching this movie. The acting was superb. Javier Bardem, Jordi Molla, and Ariandna Gil did awesome jobs of acting. Read morePublished on March 13 2003 by Kimberly A. Allen
It's a shame that Far From Heaven got the press and nods because Second Skin is a far more realistic portrayal of life for a gay married man. Read morePublished on March 10 2003
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